Archive for the 'music' category

Friday Fun: The 123 Worst Musicians of All Time

Sep 12 2014 Published by under friday fun, music

Music critics. Got to love them. Just the right mixture of disdain, hipster arrogance and snobbery to set the teeth on edge. Ooooh, love that band no one has ever heard of. Hate that band that "sold out" and became famous. They were so much more authentic when they were poor and no one heard and enjoyed their music. Ask U2.

Vice's music critics have a new list out, The 123 Worst Musicians of All Time, which hits the hipster music critic disdain nail right on the head. Amongst them they come up with a list of the 123 worst musicians of all time, which amongst them leaves them with basically not liking any music every made at all anytime by anyone. Except King Crimson, which is the ultimate hipster critic band.

And at the end of the day, I actually kind of love the list. It skewers everybody, hammers every pretension and blasts every populist musical nitwit. Equal opportunity sarcasm and bile at its best. Sure, all my favourite bands are listed, but then again so are yours. Not to mention most of the time the smug dismissal of the bands in question actually has nothing to do with their music but with how they dress or other largely irrelevant factors.

Here are their comments for some of my favourite musicians. Check out the whole list. Your faves will be there too.


Most people can name more animals they think Ozzy Osbourne has bitten the head off of than actual Black Sabbath songs.


White man discover guitar. White man like guitar. Guitar fun. Guitar make good noise. Cocaine!


This guy could only play one instrument.


Rage is a band for the dude who just took a poli-sci class at the University of Phoenix Online.


Wow, a carefully constructed rock opera about the trials and tribulations of growing up, confronting bullying and abuse, and ultimately accepting yourself? More like The Who Gives A Shit?

Yes, you. It's also fun because all the bands you really hate are shot down too. Yes, go read it.

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Music Mondays: Trent Reznor = Astor Piazzolla

May 09 2011 Published by under music, music mondays

Ok, not really.

It's hard to directly compare the industrial disco-metal stylings of Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails with the tango nuevo of Argentina's Astor Piazzolla. The music itself is very different.

Or is it? Both of them -- Piazzolla and Reznor -- certainly create music that has a propulsive, relentless almost narrative drive to it, also music that appeals to both the head and the heart and the feet.

It's really all about the passion and intensity. You don't listen to either Reznor or Piazzolla and come away from it with "eh."

You see, I listen to music on my commute. I have about 40 minutes on bus and subway each way and I read, surf the net on my iPhone, but mostly I listen to music.

And right now, my music player has somehow ended up full of both Piazzolla and NIN. And strangely the last week or so it seems to be alternating them quite often.

And it struck me.

They're the same. That passion, drive, intensity, that crazy insane mad relentless focus. They both have it in spades. I somehow have come to see them as artistic siblings or at very least cousins.

But listen for yourself.

A few NIN tunes from their official Youbube channel here:

And a few Astor Piazzolla pieces as well, although he's not that well represented on Youtube:

And yeah, catholic music tastes for sure.

So what are you listening to that's surprising these days?

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Music Mondays: Five songs I love: John Entwistle

Aug 23 2010 Published by under music, music mondays

The Who is pretty well my favourite band of all time. Without a doubt. Way back in the seventies (yes, I'm that old) when everyone else was arguing about whether the Beatles or the Stones were the greatest rock 'n roll band in the world, I always argued it was The Who. Townshend, Daltry, Moon were the noisy ones, the famous ones, the crazy ones. But the bassist, John Entwistle, he was The Quiet One. The one who held it all together.

So, over the years I've collected a fair big of Who music, but also solo stuff by Pete Townshend and a bit by Roger Daltry. But also John Entwistle, who's dark humour has always really appealed to me. Most Who albums had one or two tracks written by him, sometimes more. He usually only sung one of them as he realized early on if he wrote more for Daltry's style he'd get more songs on the albums.

Anyways, here we go. Five by The Ox.

  • Too Late the Hero, from his 1981 solo album of the same name.
  • 905, one of my favourite Who songs, an obscure track from the Who Are You album. This version is performed by the John Entwistle Band.
  • My Wife, one of Entwistle's darkest and most misanthropic songs. From Who Are You.
  • Heaven and Hell. A Who song, one of my favourites, again darkly humourous.
  • The Real Me. While this Quadrophenia song was written by Pete Townshend, it really showcases Entwistle's bass playing. Here's a JEB version.

There's a tribute DVD that was released a couple of years ago that's really fantastic. It has interviews, appreciations and quite a bit of concert footage: John Entwistle: An Ox Tale. Left for Live: Deluxe and So Who's the Bass Player: The Ox Anthology are great introductions to Entwistle's music.

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Music Mondays: Five songs I love

Mar 29 2010 Published by under music, music mondays

Another list of songs I really love, this time leaning a bit on the heavy side.

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Music Mondays: Have a heavy metal Christmas

Nov 30 2009 Published by under music, music mondays

Welcome to the latest feature here at Confessions of a Science Librarian -- Music Mondays! My plan is to have a vaguely music-related post here most Mondays, somewhat in the vein of my Friday Fun posts, but probably not quite as regular. I'll probably mix in short CD reviews, odd bits I've found on the web, the occasional "Five Songs I Love" feature with who knows what else I think of.

And speaking of odd bits...

Rob Halford, Metal God, Judas Priest front man, solo act with a couple of really great albums under his belt, has a new Christmas CD coming out called Wintersongs

Let's hear what he has to say for himself:

Let's focus on the business at hand for a couple moments here and talk about this Christmas record and why. The big question - I'm sure a lot of fans are asking - why bring the Halford band together for a seasonal album?

Well, it was a pretty simple idea on the basics of the whole thing and it was very much from my own personal desires and wishes, and I wasn't sure how Metal Mike (Chlasciak - guitar) and Roy Z (guitar) and Bobby (Jarzombek - drums) and Mike (Davis - bass) would take it. But do you remember I did that song for radio many years ago called 'Christmas Ride'? And then, I forget what year that was, it was around the time that we were making Crucible (actually 1994). But prior to that in the FIGHT band, around the first Fight record, I made a handful of CDs of a song called 'Silent Night' just for family and friends. So both of those experiences had been kind of locked away in the metal memory banks but never really disappeared. So each time successive Christmases would come along I would say, 'oh, God, I've done this again.' I really wanted to try and get something out this year, you know, and again for the obvious reasons of being immersed with all the metal around me, I just didn't have the time or the window or the opportunity to make it all happen. But anyway, the decision was made a long time ago. What do you think about this? Do you think it's cool? Are you up for it? Do you believe in it? What do you think we're gonna do? And everybody ran to the idea and once it got the thumbs up, then the slow piecing process bit by bit started to come together over a couple of years. And you know, when you say a couple of years, that wasn't like two years of intensity, that was just really the guys finding time in their own schedules, their own busy schedules, to put all of these ideas together as a band.

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Here Comes Science by They Might Be Giants

Oct 07 2009 Published by under book review, music, science books

Here Comes Science by the alt-rock band The Might be Giants is a delightful CD/DVD set of kids music and video about...Science! The set comes with both a CD with all the music and a DVD with all the videos wrapped into a show with animated, light-hearted commentary and introduction by the two Giants, John Linnell and John Flansburgh.

Here's a list of the tunes, so you can get an idea of the breadth of topics covered. TMBG has a channel on YouTube where you can find many of the videos.

Overall, they're great: lively, interesting, educational and fun, with a good variety. The music is a breezy folky sound that will definitely appeal to most kids -- and most adults too. The science content is very good too, accurate and yet engaging. The videos were each created by different artists, so each has a different feel. But at the same time, they're not so different that there isn't an unified feel.

My favourites? Science is Real, Electric Car and Roy G. Biv.

I recommend this set without reservation. Your kids will love it, your friends' kids will love it, your kids' classmates will love it. It's aimed at kids younger than, say, grade 4 but older kids with a sense of fun will also enjoy it, although it may lose some of it's attraction during the "too cool" teen years. School and public libraries are a natural fit as well as resource libraries for education programs in colleges or universities.

The only thing I would have done differently would have been to add a karaoke option for the videos. I can easily imagine wanting to have family or class sing-a-longs!

It's also worth noting that TMBG has also produced a couple of other kids CD/DVD sets: Here Come The 123s and Here Come the ABCs.

(CD/DVD set provided by the artists.)

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Friday Fun: Free Online Classic Rock Concerts!

Sep 18 2009 Published by under friday fun, music

I'm talking about the new-to-me Wolfgang's Vault! Among other things, it includes a Vault Store, where you can buy prints and other swag; the Concert vault with 2859 concerts, the Crawdaddy magazine & archives. The concerts material can be sliced & diced into playlists and radio shows.

The concerts are by, among others: The Allman Brothers, The Band, Black Sabbath, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Linda Ronstadt, Lynyrd Skynyrd, MC5, Miles Davis, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Van Morrison and The Who.

As I type this, I'm listening to an absolutely amazing concert by The Black Crowes from 1990.

So, where does all this amazing material come from? Mostly from the archives of Bill Graham and The King Biscuit Flower Hour. More info at the Catalogs part of the Concerts page. You can also read more background on the whole project on the Concerts and Vault About pages.

The vast majority of material in Wolfgang's Vault comes from the exquisitely preserved, original archives of Bill Graham Presents, which we now own and manage. Beginning with the seminal concerts of the mid 1960s and continuing through today, we've assembled a superb collection that is being cared for in state-of-the-art facilities.

We have only begun to mine the depths of the Vault. We opened in October 2003 with our unparalleled collection of Poster Art and added our extraordinary vintage t-shirts, backstage passes, laminates and books shortly thereafter. In 2004 we released the BG Archive photography collection, and since then we have become the exclusive online source for four of the greatest rock photographers of all time: Baron Wolman, Michael Zagaris, Joe Sia and Gene Anthony.

The Vault is constantly undergoing exciting changes and developments. We've expanded our apparel line to include infant and kids wear. Concert Vault, which includes Vault Radio, has exposed thousands of listeners to the depths of the Bill Graham archive, the King Biscuit Flower Hour and the Silver Eagle Cross Country collections. The introduction of Big Ticket grants collectors access to a pristine and extremely rare collection of poster art that's not available anywhere else. We are regularly introducing fresh new product lines and special features like wrapping paper and poster reprints. The Vault continues to grow and evolve, with updates and additions constantly improving the look and function of our site.

And if you're worried:

The Concert Vault is fully licensed by BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC, and we pay these performance rights organizations every time you listen to a concert. The license fees make their way back to the performers that made the music. Download revenues are also shared with performers and publishers as appropriate. One of our top priorities will always be to make sure that the artists are compensated for their performances.


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Five Perfect Rock Songs

Aug 27 2009 Published by under music, personal

Apparently inspired by the occasional Five Songs I Love posts I've been doing (here, here and here), Ava at Jemsite asked me if I wouldn't mind coming up with one for their blog.

Well, it sounded like a cool idea -- so here's what I came up with.

It was a fun experience so I hope to do more guest posts as time and inspiration allow.

Thanks, Ava!

3 responses so far

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